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Political Party May Sell Voter Data

BIG DATA—U.S.

February 8, 2013

ProPublica reports on potential plans by state Democratic parties to sell information gathered from voters to credit card companies and retailers. In 2011, state party leaders formed the National Voter File Co-op to sell voter data to approved organizations such as the NAACP. The collected data tends to include voters’ names, addresses and party affiliation, but, the report states, local political parties have also collected additional data over several campaign cycles on voters’ views and preferences. Now the co-op is reportedly looking into potential commercial markets. One member of the co-op’s board said, “What the co-op is doing is saying, ‘Look, there’s a wealth of information here, that potentially benefits your corporation or your business' interests…It’s up to us to figure out what (data) there’s a market for and whether there’s a comfort level among state parties for selling that information.”
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